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All the World's Seeds

NPR's Morning Edition likens the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Colorado to "a big insurance policy." The center, a seed vault, houses billions of seeds and other genetic material from livestock, fish, microbes, and more, under tight security. The center, reporter Luke Runyon says, serves as a backup for other seed collections around the US and around the world, storing them just in case there is a regional, or larger, loss of crops or livestock.

Despite the center's strict security, Runyon notes that it was recently at the center of an investigation after some Monsanto wheat plants were found growing as volunteers in Oregon earlier this year. (The vault also houses some seeds from ag firms.) The center, though, incinerated its Monsanto seeds a year and a half ago at the company's request, and the US Department of Agriculture has cleared the center and turned its investigation in a different direction, he adds.